London poet and musician Arlo Parks is having her moment. The 20-year-old musician released her stark, glimmering debut record Collapsed In Sunbeams on January 29th.
In celebration of the release of Collapsed In Sunbeams, Arlo Parks and Tim from Cub Sport sat down for an in-depth, candid conversation with Tone Deaf. A tête-à-tête that saw the two artists discuss their past year, experience as budding artists, and Arlo’s debut album. Watch it below.
Since her teenage years, the west London songwriter has experienced a steady, acclaimed rise. Earning praise from fellow musicians Billie Eilish, Hayley Williams and Phoebe Bridgers; and kudos from former first lady Michelle Obama. With the release of her debut record, she feels poised for total domination.
Collapsed In Sunbeams brims with solitary songs, expertly and empathetically detailing intimate moments. It is a record that feels like a true, unvarnished mirror of the anxieties of Gen Z, in a way that doesn’t once feel contrived. A record that prioritises comfort, healing and solidarity — without ever leaning into the aestheticised and hollow “self-love” rhetoric that often feels so suffocating.
The neo-soul indebted record draws from a breadth of influences; from the vast expansiveness of Portishead to the diaristic emo musings of Fall Out Boy.
Growing up, Arlo found inspiration in the poems by American greats like Allen Ginsberg and Jim Morrison. Nowadays, she draws from the work of Nayyirah Waheed, Hanif Abdurraqib and Iain S. Thomas.
Parks also notes that she draws from seminal classics like Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar and Haruki Murakami’s Norwegian Wood. “The way Murakami writes in that book is how I aspire to write my songs; gritty and sensitive and human,” she admits.
These cultural touchstones permeate through Collapsed In Sunbeams. ‘Cola’ is embellished with references to My Chemical Romance (“I’ll miss your T-shirt in the rain/ The one the makes you look like Gerard Way”; whilst ‘Black Dog’ gives nods to The Cure (“I’d lick the grief right off your lips/You do your eyes like Robert Smith”.)
Collapsed In Sunbeam is the singular soundtrack of the sensitive, intuitive generation that spent their formative years obsessively curating 8tracks playlists with songs discovered on Tumblr. When everything felt sincere and immediate. A time where loners found spiritually akin friends online through shared interests. It is within these references, these seemingly banal details that Arlo Parks reaches soaring relatability.